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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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a term of very ambiguous import in the Scriptures. An eminent critic has enumerated no less than six different meanings which it bears in the sacred writings, and for which, he affirms, there will not be found a single authority in any profane writer:

1. It sometimes denotes the whole body considered as animated, as in Matthew 26:41 , "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

2. It sometimes means a human being, as in Luke 3:6 , "All flesh shall see the salvation of God."

3. Sometimes a person's kindred collectively considered, as in

Romans 11:14 , "If by any means I may provoke them which are my flesh."

4. Sometimes any thing of an external or ceremonial nature, as opposed to that which is internal and moral, as in Galatians 3:3 , "Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect in the flesh?"

5. The sensitive part of our nature, or that which is the seat of appetite, as in 2 Corinthians 7:1 , "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit;" where there can be no doubt that the pollutions of the flesh must be those of the appetites, being opposed to the pollutions of the spirit, or those of the passions. 6. It is employed to denote any principle of vice and moral pravity of whatever kind. Thus among the works of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21 , are numbered not only adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, drunkenness, and revellings, which all relate to criminal indulgence of appetite, but idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, and murders, which are manifestly vices of a different kind, and partake more of the diabolical nature than of the beastly.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Flesh'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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